Sermon on the Mount (Part 2) Blessed are those who Mourn – They shall be comforted” Matthew 5:4
(by Ben Froncek)
Jamie, at the age of four, and her sister, Kim, being five, like any other kids seem to have an endless supply of energy. So much so that their mom enjoys it when she can get them down for an afternoon nap. During those naps which often lasted about an hour, she would also take time to relax calling a friend, reading her favorite magazine or sometimes even taking a nap herself.
On one such occasion after she slipped off into that sweet sleep the girls got up and after seeing their mom sleeping went off to play. Sometimes they like to play in their mom’s bedroom. They loved to put on her shoes and hats and pretend that they were models. They wrap a scarf around their waist and would twirl around to watch them swirl. They would go over to her make-up table and would only eye it with oohs and ahs. Playing with their mom’s clothes was one thing, but they knew better not to touch anything on that table. Their mom warned them more than once not to touch a thing on it because it was a place where she kept all her precious things. As they gazed at the treasures that were spread across the table it was hard not to touch the pretty bottles and containers that were filled with perfume, lipstick and make-up. And at the back of the table against the mirror they saw her jewelry box. They definitely knew that was off limits. The table was also decorated with their mom’s favorite pictures and knick-knacks. There were pictures of grandmas and grandpas, picture of them when they were just babies and a new picture of their daddy in his army uniform in some place called Iraq. And there was also a small collection of beautiful glass flowers daddy had given her. Some were tiny and colorful. Some looked like violets, and one of her favorite glass flowers was a pink rose that stood tall and delicate on the end of a tall thin stem. As you know, if kids can’t touch and play with something the attention span of a four and five year will only last for a matter of minutes. It wasn’t too long before the girls were acting silly and resumed modeling their mom’s silliest hats and spiked shoes. And then it happened- after horsing and pushing one another they bumped into the table and they heard something break. As they look up they saw that their mom’s tall pink rose was now laying on the table in pieces. Jamie and Kim look at one another with an express of total shock. Jamie asked Kim, “What are we going to do?” with a little terror in her voice. A small tear began to develop in Kim’s eye, and she said, “I, I don’t know. That was mama’s favorite.” And then they both began to break down and quietly cry. That’s when the door quietly opened and mother first heard them quietly crying. She thought it was a bit odd because it wasn’t the kind of cry she heard when one of them got hurt, or when one was mad at the other. Together they were both quietly crying tears of sadness. As they look up and saw their mother the tears really began to flow, and both girls began to choke out, “Mommy we are sorry, it was an accident.” Not knowing what they were talking about her eyes scanned her room and then settled on the broken glass rose. She sat down on the floor beside them looking so guilty as they wept, and then hugged them both. She said, “I can see they you are both so sorry for breaking my favorite rose. I am sad that it is broke, but I love you more than that piece of glass.” She held them and kissed them until they felt that they were loved and forgiven.
In Matthew 5:4 on the side of that mountain, Jesus told the people,
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Have you ever felt as bad as those girls for doing something you shouldn’t have? That’s what Jesus was talking about there; when we feel really bad and grieve because of what we have done. Proud, arrogant individuals are less likely to feel like this, but those who are poor in spirit, humble feel something when they mess up. Jesus lets us know that it is not the proud or the arrogant that will find blessing here but rather those who are humble enough to feel bad. He tells us that they are the ones who will be comforted.
I don’t think that there a better story in the Bible to illustrate this than the one found in:
Luke 15:11-24 ” The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (NIV)
Do you see the progression that takes place in this story? The selfish, self-centred young man wants his share of the inheritance, seemingly not caring about his dad’s nor his brother’s feelings, nor about the family business, nor does he seem very concerned about the family’s religion nor their morals.
He takes the money and runs to party it up. Then after the money dries up and famine strikes he can’t find suitable work, and ends up feeding pigs which is probably very demeaning for a Jew who consider this animal unclean. He get to the point where he is so hungry he even longs to eat the pig’s food. It is at this point he seemingly wakes up. His proud spirit is broken, and his thoughts wander back home where there was plenty, even for the servants.
But he knows what he did. He knows that he took advantage of and hurt his father. So he humbly goes back to his dad and confesses his own sin and is ready to work as a servant if his dad would only take him back.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,… and blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”
His dad barely hears what he has to say and showers him with kisses, hugs, fine cloths and jewelry, and wants to throw a party.
“Blessed are those who mourn, or they shall be comforted”
As Jesus stood and taught this sermon on the side of that hill that day, He begins by showing those who would follow Him the kind of heart that pleases the Lord; one that’s not proud or haughty, but rather one that is still sensitive enough that still feels something when you do something wrong. You actually feels bad and grieve about what you have done.
In Matthew 18:1-5, we read where the disciples came to Jesus with a question, let me read it to you:
“1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “
There are too many people in the world today that just don’t care, and don’t feel things like an innocent child. Some of us over the years have become hardened; so much so that when we do things we ought not to do we no longer feel any remorse or grieve over what we have done. Jesus lets us know that if we get to that point, we rob our self of a blessing. I think we rob our self of the innocence which is precious and child-like. And so people find themselves doing even harsher, crueler, and even more vile things because their heart no longer grieves over such behavior. God loves the innocence heart of a child. And those who turn back to that humble state God promises to bless and comfort them. Jesus even went as far as to say, “Unless you become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
My challenge for you this week is this: Think about the condition of your heart. Have you stopped feeling the kind of shame and guilt that is actually healthy for you? The kind of feelings that help keep us from becoming crude, foul mouthed, nasty, hurtful, rude, mean and selfish and the like?
I believe that Jesus was letting His disciples know that you can re-claim that innocent child-like heart again. But it begins but humbly turning to the Father like that prodigal son returning home and asking his dad for forgiveness. And then we need choose to stop doing those things that we know we shouldn’t be doing in the first place. Sometimes it’s hard to stop doing certain things we’ve done for a long time, but I believe God will help us win over these things.
And if you mess up along the way?
The Apostle John wrote in his first epistle, (1:9)
“If we confess our sins, He (that is God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
We need to remember, that more than anything else God loves us. Just like that mother loved her two girls, and the father loved his prodigal son. Father God loves us dearly.
So can you do that? Can you go backwards and become more childlike and innocent? I know you can.
I challenge you to do it!
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566